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Recollections

East Thomas Street

and some of the surrounding streets

East Thomas Street from Brunswick Road, 1974 ©

1930s - 1960s

Please scroll down this page, or click on one of the links below.

1.

Alex
who wishes just to be known as 'Alex'

-  Request for Photos

-  Off Easter Road

-  Shops

-  Housing

-  Neighbours

-  Searching for Pictures

2.

Linda ROBERTSON
Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England

-  1950s - 60s

-  Neighbours

-  Shops

-  The Street

3.

Frank SHAW
Perth, Western Australia

-  The Shaw Family

-  Demolition

-  Shades of Grey

-  Bonfire

-  Coronation Picnic

-  School

4.

Yvonne CAIN
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

-  Montgomery Street Post Office

5.

John CLARK
Canada

-  Family

-  East Thomas Street

-  1945

-  Wartime

6.

Eric GOLD
East London

-  School - St Anthony's Annex

-  Bakers - Smiths of Hawkhill

-  Edina Café

7.

Sandra FRASER (ALLAN)
Australia

-  Brunswick Road

-  East Thomas Street

8.

Roz PATON
Fife

-  Memories, 1958-73

-  Our Flat

-  Neighbours

-  Happy Memories

-  Games

-  Ponies and Donkeys

-  Weddings

-  School

-  Shops

-  Brewery

-  Football

-  Fire

-  In the News Again

-  Demolition

-  Thanks for the Memories

9.

Frances WELSH
South Africa

-  East Thomas Street

-  Sweet Shop

-  Family

-  Emigration and Return Visit

-  Middleton's Pub

-  John Clark

10.

Duncan HENDRY

-  East Thomas Street  -  Family

-  East Thomas Street  -  Neighbours

-  Easter Road  -  Food

11.

Jackie QUINN
Lanarkshire, Scotland

-  Family

-  Gas Lamps and Baths

-  Poverty

-  Ponies

-  My Father

-  Departure

12.

John (Jack) WYLIE
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

No. 5

My Family

School

Air Raid Shelters

Shops

Hibs' Autographs

-  The Wylies

13.

John (Jack) WYLIE
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Crowded House

Infirmary Street Baths

Poverty

Move to Burdiehouse

Memories

14.

Frank HOWARTH
Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Family

Neighbours

Corner Store

Celebrations

Good Memories

15.

John (Jack) WYLIE
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

No. 5

Neighbours

61 years

16.

Rhona ADAMS (née HOWARTH)
St Catharine's Ontario, Canada

No 5 - Our Family

No 5 - Neighbours

17.

John (Jack) WYLIE
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

No. 5

Family

Neighbours

18.

Irene SHARROCK
(née DAY)

-  Leith Walk Primary School

19.

Marion RUSSELL
Mountcastle, Edinburgh

The Russell Family

20.

John KEIGHREN
Portugal  AND

John Clark
Canada

-  The Keighren Family

21.

Margaret ROBINSON
(née KEIGHREN)

Carlisle, Cumbria, England

-  The Keighren Family

22.

Joanne COCKBURN

Family

-  Entertainment

-  Horses and Carts

-  School

23.

Anna CHROBAK
Edinburgh

Family

24.

Richard MARTIN
Borders, Scotland

-  The Bookie

25.

Richard MARTIN
Borders, Scotland

China Town:  Question

26.

John WELSH
Gracemount, Edinburgh

China Town:  Answer

27.

Lillian PATTERSON
Australia

-  Fifty Years

-  Bonfires

-  Bakery

-  Move to East Thomas Street

-  Wedding

-  Leaving East Thomas Street

28.

Alan McKAY
County Durham, England

-  Family and Friends

-  Shops

-  Bonfires

-  Hard Times

-  Leaving Edinburgh

29.

John WELSH
Gracemount, Edinburgh

Christmas Greetings

30.

Dick MARTIN

Borders, Scotland

Air Raid Shelters

-  Sand Bags

31

Jim RUXTON
West End, Edinburgh

-  Games

-  Street Visitors

-  Picture Houses

-  China Town

32

David NELSON
Mountcastle, Edinburgh

with replies from

Christine ANDERSON
Duddingston Edinburgh

and

David NELSON
Mountcastle, Edinburgh

Photos from 1950s

33

Frank SHAW
Perth, Western Australia

Return to Edinburgh

34

Kim TRAYNOR
Tollcross, Edinburgh

Growing up in East Thomas Street

-  Coronation Street Party

-  The Dark Side

-  China Town

-  Marshalling Yards

-  Playing in the Street

35

Michael MORTON
Canada

Family

-  Memories

-  Mother

-  Doctor

-  Neighbours

36

Kim TRAYNOR
Tollcross, Edinburgh

Let's Walk the Dykes

37

Kim TRAYNOR
Tollcross, Edinburgh

War Memorabilia

38

Kim TRAYNOR
Tollcross, Edinburgh

Conkers

39

Kim TRAYNOR
Tollcross, Edinburgh

Chimneys

40

Frank SHAW
Perth, Western Australia

House Numbers

41

Sandy GORDON
Edinburgh

Edina Street

-  Shops, Cinema, Pub

-  Friends

-  School Days

42

Kim TRAYNOR
Tollcross, Edinburgh

Making Money

-  'Rag Store'

-  'Empties'

43

Ina WOOD
(née McGHEE)

Tollcross, Edinburgh

Neighbours

-  Cowboys & Indians

44

Kim TRAYNOR
Tollcross, Edinburgh

Spud Gun

45

Elaine CAMPBELL
USA

Spud Gun

46

Pat DOYLE
Australia

-  Chinatown

47

Kim TRAYNOR
Tollcross, Edinburgh

Railway Goods Yard

48

Ronald STOUT
Denmark

David Neilson

-  Hillside Street

-  London Road Gardens

-  Leith Walk School

-  Denmark

49

John HENDERSON
Wales

Memories

50

Tam McLUSKEY
Shannon Lake, Westbank, British Columbia, Canada

Easter

51

June WOOD
California, USA

Easter Eggs

52

Colin MACINTYRE

Dairy Shop

53

Elanor MACINTYRE

Macintyre Dairy

-  Macintyre Drysalter

-  Memories

54

Tam McLUSKEY
Shannon Lake, Westbank, British Columbia, Canada

Easter Road Shops

-  Crolla's  -  ice cream shop

-  Miele's - chip shop

55

Connie NEWMAN
East Peckham, Kent, England

Easter Road Shops

-  Crolla Family

-  Miele Family

56

Tam McLUSKEY
Shannon Lake, Westbank, British Columbia, Canada

Easter Road Shops

-  Crolla's shop

-  Miele's shop

57

June ROBERTSON
 (née WOOD)
California, USA

Shops

-  Norman Crolla

-  The Miele Family

-  Danti Lanni

58.

Lillian PATTERSON
Australia

-  My Brother

59.

Yvonne CAIN
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

-  The Tiffin

-  Candusso

-  Pet Shop

-  Post Office

-  Shoe Repair Shop

60.

James Wilkins
Northampton, Northamptonshire, England

-  The Wilkins Family

-  Housing Contrasts

-  Shops

-  Bonfires

-  Our Move to Easter Road

61.

Roy Henderson
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

Edina Place

-  Memories

Playing in Edina Place

-  Leaving Edina Place

62.

Roy Henderson
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

-  Wandering Off

-  Street Fair Celebration

 

East Thomas Street

More pages

Neighbours
various contributors

-  Who lived where?

Map
The streets between Leith Walk, Albert Street, Easter Road and London Road

Edinburgh and Leith map, 1940  -  East Thomas Street and surrounding streets ©

Photos
East Thomas Street and surrounding streets

Looking east along East Thomas Street towards Elgin Terrace ©

 

Recollections

1.

Alex

Thank you to Alex for the following recollections of East Thomas Street, Edinburgh.

 Alex wrote:

Request for Photos

"I am hoping that you may have among your records some pix and information on EAST THOMAS STREET in Edinburgh"

Alex:

You are the third person to have asked me about this street.  The others who have made similar requests are:

-  Fiona, Edinburgh.

-  Kim, South Yorkshire.

Fiona's and Kim's requests may have been left in the EdinPhoto guest book.  Unfortunately, I don't have their e-mail addresses.

A Google search for "East Thomas Street" Edinburgh  should produce a few comments about the street, including Nos 3, 8 and 9, and a couple of photos taken on the back green.

 -  Peter Stubbs

 

Off Easter Road

"East Thomas Street was just off Easter road, which remains a busy thoroughfare, and only a few hundred yards from London Road, and half a mile at most from Leith Walk. That's the best I can do for orientation."

East Thomas Street can be found within the loop of the railway line, near the bottom-left corner of this map:  -  Peter Stubbs

Edinburgh and Leith map, 1955  -  North-east Edinburgh ©

It can also be seen, centre-right on this extract from a 1940 map:

Edinburgh and Leith map, 1940  -  East Thomas Street and surrounding streets ©

"East Thomas Street, has long since been pulled down, and replaced by fine new houses."

Shops

"I grew up in East Thomas Street until my early teens.  I am now in my late sixties.

I first went looking for my roots about 10 or 15 years ago and there was nothing left.   There are still shops, at least one in particular, within 40 feet of where the street began, and it is run by the son of the man who used to sole and heel shoes way back in my childhood. It is still a cobbler's.  

But there is not a sign of the old street.

Housing

"This was a cobbled street of tenements, homes on the ground, first and top floors, four room-and-kitchens to each landing, ie 12 families in each "close" or entry.  There was a communal back-green, a sometimes grassed-area where wives could hand out washing, but no gardens.

 There were no bathrooms and no hot water other than geysers installed by families.  Coal was kept in a "bunker", a kind of deep cupboard in the internal passage within each home.  When I was very young, my early memories include black-leaded grates and gas lighting, although it has to be said that this was changing/changed by 39-45 Wartime."

Neighbours

"Clear as a bell, I can remember some of the families around us. We were on the first landing, with neighbours who included the Annans and the Robertsons. Upstairs, were the Blacks. On the ground floor, the Scotts, the Cockburns and the Mahoneys.  That was in No11.

The Doyles lives in No 10 and the Chisholms in No 9.   In No 12 were the Mackays.  At No 13, the Martins and the Mulveys. 

The Mulveys

Thank you to Terry Mulvey who wrote on behalf of the Mulvey family of 13 East Thomas Street:

"I am the grandson of Mary and Robert Mulvey.  My father was Terry Mulvey. I have just spoke to my mother and she can not believe there is a site on East Thomas Street.

We moved to Powderhall, Edinburgh in the early 70s, and then moved to Rhodesia {Zimbabwe).  We are now living in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

The Mulvey clan is getting very small.  Only Auntie Theresa is now left in Edinburgh.  I have a daughter Jodie Mulvey."

Terry Mulvey, Londonderry, Northern Ireland:  January 19 , 2008

The wee corner shop next to No 12 was run by the very elderly Mr Cadden, flat capped, waistcoated, complete with gold chain and collarless shirt. On the opposite side of the cobbled street the equivalent of his shop had been turned into a home where Mrs Nisbett and her daughter Emma lived.

At No 15 were the Adams family, and the Cushleys (spelling ?)   He was almost blind and sold newspapers at the corner of London Road and Easter Road.  He was a very, very clever man, handicapped by fate.  His son Colin won a bursary to Heriot's and then to university.

The Eastons lived farther down the street, and so did the Laidlaws.

Searching for Pictures

"I do hope that you have some of the history of East Thomas Street, in printed or picture form. I would be happy to buy some of those pix."

 

Alex: October 14, 2006

 

Question

Do you have any recollections of East Thomas Street?  If so, I would be pleased to add them to this page.

And if you can suggest where Alex might be able to find any pictures of the area, please e-mail me and I will pass on the details to Alex.

Thank you.     -  Peter Stubbs

Update

I've now found some photos and added them to the web site.

    View from a top flat in Elgin terrace  -  Looking west along East Thomas Street towards Brunswick Road Goods Yard ©

 -  Peter Stubbs:  April 7, 2007

 

Recollections

2.

Linda Robertson

Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England

Thank you to Linda Robertson, formerly of East Thomas Street,  and now living in London,  for the following comments.

 Linda wrote:

1950s - 60s

"I was raised in East Thomas Street (born 1956) and moved out about 1969 -70

I lived in Number 18 (ground floor back) with my parents May & Jimmy Robertson and our lodger Billy Harrow, who died when I was about 8 or 9."

Neighbours

"I can’t recall everyone in our close, but I remember:

The Smith family and Joe & Nellie Shaw lived on the ground floor to the front

-   Jock & Mary Hay were on the first floor.

There was a fatal house fire on that floor at one point.

-   Davie, Ivy and Rosalind Paton lived on the top floor.

-   My Aunt & Uncle Alex & Gladys Shields lived in no 19.

I believe that another uncle and aunt, Bob & Winnie Hendry, lived in one of the other closes  before I was born.

Hot summer days would see Nan Grant in no. 17 opening her window so we could all appreciate the music from her record player."

Shops

I have vivid memories of the shops at each corner.  As I recall:

-   Peggy Smiths (corner shop with a ‘penny-tray’)

 Jimmy Bruce the newsagent

a sweet shop at the top end, run I think  by a Mrs Anderson

a betting shop across from that, later turned into a home.

-  Mrs Quinn’s grocer shop, in the middle of the street

-  Mrs Learmonths grocers, across the road from the top.

The Street

I can remember milk being delivered by horse & cart (very nice horse called Domino) and very little in the way of cars.

I was so sad to see it all pulled down. The amenities may have been basic but those were happy days!

 Linda Robertson, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England::  December 13, 2006

 

Recollections

3.

Frank Shaw

Perth, Western Australia

Thank you to Frank Shaw, formerly of East Thomas Street for the following comments.

 Frank wrote:

The Shaw Family

"I lived in number 18  East Thomas Street from 1944 to 1965 and I am the son of the Joe and Nellie Shaw referred to in the Linda Roberson article.

In fact we lived next door to each other.   I am now living in Perth, Western  Australia where I have been since 1970"

This photograph of my dad which shows what the outside of the houses where like:

Joe Shaw in East Thomas Street, near Easter Road, Edinburgh ©

Demolition

"East Thomas Street was the centre street in a set of three, Elgin Street, to the left and East William Street to the right.  They where  built prior to 1855 and demolished around 1975."

Shades of Grey

"I remember walking home during the winter when it was a raining.  There was absolutely no green material in my street  -  no trees, no grass, no plants it was a hundred shades of grey.

The roof slates were three stories high and to a five year old they where as high as the Empire State Building, they glistening in the weak sunlight or during the never ending rain.  Also the rain gave the grey granite a clean sparking appearance."

Bonfire

"On the 5th of November a large bonfire was built and burnt in the centre of the street.  It was created by the local boys who collected the wood, - old furniture - or stole from other streets' collection.  It was a large fire and on several occasions it cracked the glass of the house windows."

Coronation Picnic

"A street picnic was held for the 1953 Coronation.  The street was decorated and tables were arranged down the centre."

School

"I attended Leith Walk Primary School.  It is still the same today as it was in 1950.  Nearly all of the kids from East Thomas street attended this school."

Frank Shaw, Perth, Western Australia:  February 7, 2007

 

Recollections

4.

Yvonne Cain

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Yvonne Cain, whose family ran a post office near East Thomas Street in the 1960s, for the following comments.

Yvonne wrote:

Montgomery Street Post Office

"My mum and dad ran the Post Office in Montgomery Street from 1965 until they came to Australia in 1968or 1969.

A lot of people from East Thomas Street that came into the Post Office.  Does anyone remember my mum and dad?  Dad took a stroke while he was there. 

They also did the shop up very nicely.  It was a very dark and old-fashion place  when they first went into the shop.  They had a lady who worked for them called Linda Robertson she lived at Prestonpans."

Yvonne Cain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia:  February 11, 2007

 

Recollections

5.

John Clark

Canada

Thank you to John Clark for sending me recollections of East Thomas Street, Granton and Craigmillar.  Here's what John's wrote about East Thomas Street:

Family

"I have an enormous family of cousins, many now passed away, but many more still alive.  I have so many cousins, that I don't know the names of some of them, and haven't even met them, yet most of them are still in Edinburgh.

My mum was the youngest of a family of 5 sisters and two brothers. All of that family had huge families.  I think my Auntie Lizzie had at least 14 kids.   Mum was the youngest , so I have cousins that are either long dead or very old, ( I am 70 )."

East Thomas Street

"My Aunt Mary and Uncle Frank Keighren stayed at, now I am making a guess from only faint memories, I think number 18 East Thomas Street.  They had two sons, Johnie and Frankie, and four daughters, Janet, Margaret, Mary and Sarah.  Directly alongside them on the top floor was my Aunt Jeannie Stevenson and her husband.  I never did know him.

1945

"My vivid memory of these days is of 1945.  All of East Thomas Street was ablaze with red white and blue, Union Jack flags and bunting and decorations. There were big 'V for Victory' signs above each stairway, and everyone was happy and singing and dancing.

My two cousins, Johnnie and Frankie, and my Auntie Jeanie's son Jacky, were coming home from years in a Japanese prison camp.  I was only 8 years old, but even, at that age, I could sense the bittersweet re-union. It must have been so nice and at the same time, so gut wrenching for my poor Aunties and Uncles.

 The peculiar ending to this saga is that I never did know what became of these three brave men. Maybe someone will have an answer.

Wartime

"Does anyone remember the huge water tank, probably about 40 feet square and 5 feet deep. It sat at the top of Easter road. south of London Road, in among the houses on the west side of Easter Road. I think it must have been for the firemen to use during the war to pump water..

 Anyway, my heart goes out to all the brave souls who fought for us during the war. I have been in tears while I was writing this, thinking of my cousins, thank you for listening."

John Clark, Canada:  April 1, 2007

 

Recollections

6.

Eric Gold

East London

Thank you to Eric Gold, East London, for sending me the recollections below about Edina Place.  Edina Place is on the eastern side of Easter Road, almost opposite Edina Street.

Edina Street

   Hutton's Shoe Repair Shop, 11 Edina Street on the corner of Elgin Terrace ©

Eric wrote:

School

St Anthony's Annex

"When I was at St Anthony's school, the annex was situated in Hawkhill Avenue and was nicknamed 'Strangs' after the football pools people.  (We were next door to Hibs football ground at Easter Road.)

Bakers

Smiths of Hawkhill

"Nearby, there was a large bakers called 'Smiths of Hawkhill' .   I can still smell the bread being baked to this day."

Edina Café

'Big Maggie'

"On our lunch break we would go to the Edina Café situated in Easter Road near Edina Place, it was not a greasy spoon job as all the food was cooked on the premises.

The woman in charge of the Café was called Big Maggie.  The head waitress and boy she could run that place like clockwork, and you daren't get on the wrong side of Maggie as she was tough and I mean tough.  You had to be with the Hibs and other football fans eating there on match days.

Maggie, and I got on like a house on fire.  She was a funny lady and swore like a trooper.  I bet she and Doctor Goldberg would have hit it off.  The owners of the Café later sold the Café to Big Maggie.

Meals

I remember, on those cold winters days, she would make a big pot of broth and she would give me a free helping.

A few years later, when I was on leave from the Queen Mary, I had 3 barmen staying at our house in Craigmillar and we went to Maggie's. She was short-staffed that day and said, jokingly, 'Call yourself barmen or stewards?' 

So I said to Maggie 'Do you want a hand?' and she said 'Yes'.  So I got in the kitchen and peeled a few spuds and washed all the plates and my mates, the barmen on the Queen Mary, waited on the tables there (ha ha ha).

Maggie thanked us and offered payment but we all refused as we made good money on board ship, and Maggie gave us a huge dinner that I'll never forget.  Her stews were fantastic.  M y favourite was her steak and kidney pie and I can still taste the crust at the top of the pie to his day.

New Zealand

Years later, when I was on P&O lines to Australia and New Zealand I went to the Edina Café, and Maggie said to me that she fancied New Zealand after I had showed her a few photos of it.

About 3 years later whilst on leave again, I went down to the Edina Café but it was closed, unfortunately.  I wonder if Maggie went to New Zealand and stayed there?

Does anyone has any information of the Edina Café or Maggie, or any photos of the place?

Eric Gold, East London:  April 7, 2007

 

Question

Edina Café

Do you have any information or photos of The Edina Café, or any news about 'Big Maggie' (above).

If so, please e-mail me and I'll let Eric Gold know.

Thank you.    - Peter Stubbs:  April 7, 2007

 

Recollections

7.

Sandra Fraser (Allan)

Australia

Thank you to Sandra Fraser who wrote:

Brunswick Road

"I lived at 23, Brunswick Road from 1942 until 1960, when I came to Australia.  I have a brother, Ian, and a sister, Nan

East Thomas Street

"I remember East Thomas Street:

-  No 1:  Jimmy Bruce's sweet shop.

-  No 3:  Doris Hendry, David & Janet Nelson, Rankins, Webster

-  No 4:  Lynda & Thomas Smith, Billy Douglas, Mammie Blake

-  Then there was Scobbie's shop.

-  No 5:  Robertson, Webbs, Dolly Edmond, Raymond Millan and Betty Ferguson

On the other side of the street were the McLuskeys, Pat Tait, Ina Bramble, Margaret Whiteside and Jacqueline MacKay.

Sandra Fraser (Allan), Australia:  May 20, 2007

 

Recollections

7.

UPDATE

Messages for Sandra Fraser (Allan)

Hi Sandra.

(a)

It looks as if you've changed your email address since you sent me the message above.  I've now received a message from Alex Dickson who would like to contact you.

If you read this, can you please email me, so that I have your latest email address to pass on to Alex.

Thank you.    -  Peter Stubbs:  January 10, 2009

(b)

You may be interested to read Recollections 32 below.

Peter Stubbs:  July 13, 2009

 

Recollections

8.

Roz Paton

Fife

Thank you to Roz Paton for sending her recollections of living in East Thomas Street from around 1958 to 1973.

For the past ten years, Roz has been a Deputy Headteacher, living in Fife.

Roz wrote:

1958-73

"I was born in the Eastern General Hospital in 1954, and came home to number 18 East Thomas Street – top floor, first door – with my mother Ivy and my father Davie.

My memories of the street cover the period of time from about 1958 till we were re-homed in time for Christmas 1973, not long before the street was demolished.

Our Flat

"Our flat was a traditional ‘but and ben’.  There was a very small toilet behind the front door – just enough leg room to sit on the pan and no more! – and then a second door opened into the first room which was used as a kitchen/sitting room and bedroom for my parents.

The other room was my bedroom and a store room for our clothes and other belongings. There were four flats like ours on each floor and three floors in each close – 12 flats in all.

If you counted up all the people who lived in that wee street at any one time, there must have been hundreds. Some of the families were really big – I can’t imagine where they all slept!"

Neighbours

"East Thomas Street was a really happy place to grow up in. Everyone knew everyone else and most of the time – maybe I’m remembering all of this through rose-tinted spectacles of course! – people looked out for each other, shared things and tried their best to be good neighbours.

I remember all of the people Linda has mentioned very well, and old Mrs Stevenson (who lived in the flat next door to mine) and Mrs Keighran (on our landing), both mentioned by John Clark.

I also remember the Morrisons, a really lovely older couple, who stayed at Number 18 before the Smiths came.  Mr Morrison made me a bow and arrow one summer when we were all addicted to playing Cowboys and Indians.

When I was small, old Mrs Stevenson lived in the flat next to mine and old Mrs Keighran (both mentioned in John Clark’s reminiscences) lived on our landing as well.

Children who were contemporaries of mine included Janet Croback (spelling?) grand-daughter of Mrs Keighran and:

No. 6 or 7

Lorraine, Charmaine, Michelle and John McLean AND Norma Mitchell (spelling?)

No. 7 or 8

Tishy and Eileen McAllister (spelling?)

No. 12?

Hazel Purves and  brother

No.12

Elaine Coates

No. 15?

Alexis Miller

No 16

Sandra McLean AND Sandra and Jembie

No. 19

Vivienne Kelly

No. 18

Margaret Smith

No. 19

Esther,  the McAllisters' cousin

No.  20?

Frances Welsh"

Happy Memories

"I have lots of happy memories of living in the street.

the excitement of Bonfire Night.

-  Nan Grant’s record player.

Cliff Richards’ ‘Summer Holiday’ always transports me back to hot, summer afternoons with the younger adults out in the sun joining in with skipping games we played in the middle of the cobbled street.

Games

"I  remember

- ‘Kick the Can’

- ‘Hide and Seek’

- ‘Peevers’

- circle games like ‘The Farmer’s in His Den’'

- holding concerts in the backgreen

I remember us as a very active, imaginative generation.

One popular game

-  sometimes called Cowboys and Indians

-  sometimes Batman and Robin

-  sometimes Nazis and British!

was a  mad chase through the street, backgreens and over the walls.  It involved weapons like old Fairy Liquid bottles full of water, toy guns, bows and arrows etc.

When it was wet weather we ‘played in’ – either in one of the flats or, more often, on the stairs in our close – at ‘Schools’, ‘Shops’ or ‘Hospitals."

Ponies and Donkeys

"One of the really exciting things that happened in my street one summer was when Paddy (Number 14?) tethered his donkeys and ponies for the day on his way to Portobello beach. All of the kids got a free ride."

Weddings

"Every so often a bride left for her wedding from the street and word would be passed from one kid to the other – ‘Poor Oot this afternoon!’

By the appointed time a sizeable crowd of youngsters would have gathered to watch the bride and her father climb into the wedding car. Just before they pulled away, the bride’s dad would throw coins out of the window and the kids would scramble to get as much money as possible.

There were always casualties who were left crying and without anything at all – usually smaller kids who got trampled in the rush. I don’t know how nobody ever got run over!"

School

"Nearly all of the children in the street were educated at Leith Walk Primary School which is in Brunswick Road and still going strong today.

There was a little shop on the corner opposite the school and the shopkeeper would bring a tray of goodies over to the school at break time and sell it to us through the locked gate."

Shops

"We had a shop on every corner of our street to cater for our every need. Linda’s mum sometimes sent us to Smith’s for ‘a powder’ (Askit powder), sold by the sachet.

You could buy a single cigarette as well.  Adults who smoked nearly all bought Embassy so that they could collect the coupons.

Children – particularly those with a sweet tooth like myself – were particularly well catered for. Even now the thought of Mrs. Smith’s penny tray, sweetie necklaces, fruit salad chews and tiny fondant and chocolate ‘knickerbocker glories’ makes my mouth water!

I remember the summer when ‘Let’s Twist Again’ had just been released and Mrs Smith held twisting competitions in her shop for the children who came to spend their money.

The winner would get a free penny chew – or, if Mrs Smith was feeling really generous – a toffee frying pan or a tablet frying pan. (Why does nobody make those any longer?).  No wonder I’m the shape I am now!

I also remember Rita Quinn from ‘Quinn’s’ across the road from ‘Smith’s’ donating five shillings to my friends and I when we wanted to buy a tambourine for the group we were forming.

It was a lot of money in those days.  I hope, if you put this on the site, Rita reads this so that she knows I’ve never forgotten her kindness and generosity.

Wee Jimmy Bruce from the newspaper shop on the corner was a tiny, round, little man who ran the shop with his brother. Latterly he was almost blind but still had all his marbles.  He checked every coin he was handed by biting it!

Brewery

"At the back of five o’clock every evening, East Thomas Street smelled of hops. Many of the men worked in Younger’s Brewery and they came home in their regulation dungarees.  My Dad was one of them.

He would be so tickled to know that the new Scottish Parliament building now stands on the site where he and all those other men laboured all those years ago."

Football

"Because of our proximity to Easter Road (and because they were the best anyway!) we were all Hibs fans like our Dads.

Woe betide anyone who was brave enough to say their allegiance was elsewhere – particularly the Jam Tarts!"

Fire

"A really vivid memory I have of living at Number 18 was the fire we had there. I can’t place the year exactly but I guess I would be about nine years old.

The fire started on the middle floor, one Sunday morning when I was at Sunday School at Abbeyhill Baptist Church just round the corner, and still there to this day.

I arrived home to find three fire engines outside my stair, what seemed like a huge number of firemen, all the residents out on the street and lots and lots of smoke. The owner of the flat where the fire started died that day and so did the wee dog (Dusty) who lived across the landing from me.

I was terrified that my parents and our dog were dead as well because I couldn’t find them anywhere. I was very relieved indeed when my dad and our dog came sauntering up the street from Nan Grant’s to meet me. Nan had taken my mum and dad in after they’d escaped the blaze.

My Dad had wrapped our dog’s head in a damp towel and carried him down the stairs in his arms. We were allowed back into the building that evening and a reporter from the ‘Evening News’ came to interview my parents. The story was in the paper the following day.

The fierce heat of the fire had charred and melted the paint in the stairwell and it was never fixed. It remained black and bubbled until the street was demolished."

In the News Again

"We hit the front page of the Evening News for all the wrong reasons one other time as well when stolen goods were found under the floorboards of a flat in Number 16.

The headline said something about ‘Aladdin’s Cave’!"

Demolition

"My family went on to live at Lady Nairne when we left East Thomas Street. I missed the old place very much for quite a long time and I was very sad when the houses were pulled down.

I remember looking up one day during the demolition work and being really upset when I realised I was looking at the inside of what had been my bedroom. The outside wall had been ripped away and I was staring up at this little space with wallpaper I still remembered.

Thanks for the Memories

"One of the nicest things about reading what the other contributors have said is finding out how scattered we have become! Who would have thought all those years ago that people living in East Thomas Street would travel so far!

Hi to all of you and many thanks for the memories!

My father died in 1986 and my mother in January this year. They were both laid to rest in the Eastern Cemetery just round the corner from where the old street was.  I miss them both. Remembering East Thomas Street and our lives there all those years ago, sharing the reminiscences of those who have contributed to the site and studying the photographs has been a very poignant experience for me."

Roz Paton, Fife, Scotland:  August 14, 2007

 

Recollections

9.

Frances Welsh

South Africa

Thank you to Frances Welsh who wrote:

East Thomas Street

"Hi, I am Frances Welsh from 20 East Thomas Street and I have just been reading Roz Patons news on the old street.  I remember her very very well and everything she says and all the people she mentioned. 

Janet Chroback is my cousin.  My Gran was Mrs Keighren and my aunty, Jeanie Stephenson.  Oh how the memories come flooding back.  There is very little that I can add as Rosalind (if I remember her mum used to make us call her name like this) has said it all.  They were really great days.  All the people and happy times."

Sweet Shop

"Mrs Smith's sweets, yep they were the best (also probably why I look like I do today as well) funny she remembered Mrs Quinn and Rita, I remember when we moved to Southhouse, Rita gave me a lovely dressing table - she must have had a heart of gold as she seemed to look after us all.

Family

"My Aunty Janet and my Aunty Margaret (Aunty Jeanie's daughter) are all that is left from my mums family - apart from all of us cousins etc. my mum passed away in March 2005 and my dad in September 2005."

Emigration and Return Visit

"I live in South Africa.  I've been here for 34 years now and I love it - I have 5 kids (including a set of twin boys).  My kids are all grown up now and I have 3 grandsons.

I went back to Edinburgh in 2004 for the first time in 30 years.  I got quite a shock and I can honestly say nothing much had changed - I drove round the streets like I had never been away - it was wonderful.

Middleton's Pub

"I love all the wonderful photo's of East Thomas Street, I went into the pub Middleton's - I could not resist this as this is where I used to try pull my dad out of all the time.  So for the memories I had to go into it to see what it actually looked like.   (It has probably never changed since my dad was drinking there.)

John Clark

"I see John Clark has also been on this site, funny thing my cousin Irene Naylor (née White) who lives in Canada spoke to me about him the other week, then I see him on this site.  I can't say I remember him, but I do know of him.  I believe he tried to contact my brother John.  Anyway great site and great memories from everyone"

Frances Welsh, South Africa:  September 13, 2007

 

Recollections

10.

Duncan Hendry

Thank you to Duncan Hendry who wrote:

East Thomas Street  -  Family

"My Granny, Katie Hendry, lived in the top flat at 11 East Thomas Street, for about 50 years.  My parents, John and Cathie Hendry also lived at number 11, shortly after they married before moving to the Inch.

East Thomas Street  -  Neighbours

-  Jim Dodds lived next door. Mrs Walker lived 1 floor below.

-  The Learmonth sisters ran the shop, helped by a man called Andrew.

-  Was there a bookie's shop at 13a?  Was it legal?"

Easter Road  -  Food

"Best fish and chips in the world:  Miele's

Best ice cream:  The Tiffin, run by Dom Crolla.

-  Great memories!"

Duncan Hendry:  December 5, 2007

 

Recollections

11.

Jackie Quinn

Lanarkshire, Scotland

Thank you to Jackie Quinn who wrote:

Family

"I just wanted to say how delighted I was to find your web site and how amazed I was to see pictures of East Thomas Street.  I was born in 1953 and lived till I was nine years old in No 9 East Thomas Street with:

-  my Father Frankie Quinn

-  my mother Julie

-  my older sister Roberta (Bertie)

 My father was born in East Thomas Street next door to No. 9.  Many of his relations lived in the street:

-  Paddy Carr and his two daughters

-  Jimmy Aikman and his wife

-   Pat Tait

-  Edward Gray

-  wee Annie

All were related, and many more."

Gas Lamps and Baths

"I remember the gas lamp lighter coming round the streets to light the lamps, later replaced with electric.

There were gas lights in most of the houses and baths once a week in the zinc tub in-front of the fire."

Poverty

"The kids all played in the streets and we were happy.  Bonfire night was really something.  We could get to hold a sparkler as a once-a-year treat.

Many people were very poor and it was common to get a knock on the door for a cup of sugar or some bread, which was always paid back."

Ponies

"The picture on the web site depicting No 9 East Thomas Street has a Morris PV van outside.

    Nos 9 + 10 East Thomas Street ©

That was our horsebox that we used to take our ponies to shows all over Scotland, and also to go to horse sales as my Mother was a horse-dealer.

A remarkable woman, she drove that little PV van laden with ponies from Aberdeen to Wales to sell them to put food on the table for us."

My Father

"My Father was a car dealer who lived for his trotting horses and the Speedway at Meadowbank, to say nothing of his whiskey and song accompanied by his spoon playing.

Those were happy days, even though they were tough too."

Departure

"I left Edinburgh when I was nine, but returned when I was 17 to live in Logie Green Road, Warriston, for a few months."

Jackie Quinn, Lanarkshire, Scotland:  January 6, 2008

 

Recollections

12.

John (Jack) Wylie

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Thank you to Jack Wylie who wrote:

No 5

"I  lived in East Thomas Street from 1937 to 1947. I am now 71 years old and live in Toronto, Canada.

We lived at number 5, East Thomas Street.  I remember some of the neighbours's names who lived in number 5. There were:

-  the Furgesons.

-  the Robertsons (2 families).

-  the Barrs."

My Family

"My family consisted of:

-  parents, Rita and Wullie.

-  sister Margaret (now deceased).

-  myself.

-  Christine, who now lives in Australia.

-  William who lives in Australia.

-  the twins, Elizabeth (now in Edinburgh) and Helen (now in Canada)."

School

"I went to Leith Walk School.

 The Norwegian Seaman's Church, 25 North Junction Street, Leith  -  now home of the Leith School of Art ©

In 1947, we moved to 10 Burdiehouse Avenue.

Air Raid Shelters

"I still remember some of the time from East Thomas Street.  I can vividly remember going down the air raid shelter when the sirens went off, during World War 2.

Shops

"I can also remember East Thomas Street had a shop at each corner of the street.  I went back to visit it on one off my trips back to Scotland.  The tenements had been pulled down, and other houses were built there."

Hibs' Autographs

I remember going round to get  autographs of the Hibs players coming out of training at Easter Road on Tuesdays and Thursdays  -  Gordon Smith, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull, etc.

I would love to know where the autograph book went to.

Yes, so many memories.

The Wylies

Does anybody remember the Wylies from number 5?

Please e-mail me.

John (Jack) Wylie, Toronto, Ontario, Canada:  message left in guest boo, January 22, 2008.

 

Recollections

13.

John (Jack) Wylie

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I added a comment to the guest book, saying that Jack's house must have been crowded.

He replied:

Crowded House

"Yes, it was a crowded house, considering it was only a room and kitchen.  Maybe it helped that my dad was away a lot during World War 2.

We obviously didn't have a bath.  Come to think of it, the toilet was out in the stairway, and you had to take your toilet paper (newspaper cut up into squares) with you."

Infirmary Street Baths

"I remember walking all the way to Infirmary Street Baths, probably twice a week, to get a good wash, and that must have been when I was around nine years old. 

The other place I remember walking to was Portobello.  It was quite a wee walk."

Poverty

"When I tell my grandson just now how poor we were in those days, he says, 'Why didn't your mother go to the bank and get some money? '

 My answer is that my mother didn't even know what a bank was."

Move to Burdiehouse

"When we moved to Burdiehouse in 1947, it was like heaven, a new house with three bedrooms upstairs, also a real bathroom with a bath.

I think when they built these houses in Burdiehouse, they were meant to last 35 years or so, but 10 Burdiehouse Avenue stands to this day.  I got my picture taken outside it two years ago when I was in Edinburgh for a wedding."

Memories

"I sometimes surprise myself when i think how much i can remember about East Thomas Street.

I can clearly remember my first day at Leith Walk School, some 67 or 68 years ago.  Since that day, I've lived in:

-  Australia for 5 years.

-  South Africa for 3 years.

-  Canada for a total of 33 years.

I've been so excited all day, since I found this web site."

John (Jack) Wylie, Toronto, Ontario, Canada:  January 23, 2008.

 

Recollections

14.

Frank Howarth

Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Thank you to Frank Howarth for adding his memories of living at East Thomas Street in the EdinPhoto Guest Book.

Frank wrote:

Family

"I still have vivid memories of life at 5 East Thomas Street, where I was born and raised.  I lived on the top floor, with my mother, Grace, my sisters, Irene and Rhona and my younger brother Michael."

Neighbours

"I recall my best friend Terry Jones who lived at the top of the street. I remember Mrs Roberson and her family who lived on the ground floor and made me very welcome when I visited them in August of 1972.  The Hendersons, and their daughter Moira and son John, lived next door to us."

Corner Store

"I spent many a day at the corner store, and delivered papers for Jimmy Bruce who owned and operated the store. He had 2 brothers. Peter and Mathew."

Celebrations

"I remember the huge bonfires in the middle of the street to celebrate Guy Fox day.  I recall the celebration of the Coronation of the Queen with all the tables down the street. I believe we were all given a (plastic?) souvenir replica of 'The Golden Coach' in which she rode. There was a special song written about that at the time also. I know the words as my mother, Grace often sang them to us.

My brother Michael once sang a song on the stage Princes Street Gardens, beneath the Castle.  He was called a pocket 'Johnny Ray'. He was only 7 at the time."

Good Memories

"Despite the rationing after the war our parents always made sure that we were well looked after.

Soooo many good memories.  Thank you for the wonderful look back!!!"

Frank Howarth, Guelph, Ontario, Canada: Message in EdinPhoto Guest Book:  May 6, 2008

 

Recollections

15.

John (Jack) Wylie

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Thank you to Jack Wylie who sent a message to the EdinPhoto Guest Book.

Jack wrote:

No 5

"I am especially interested in 5 East Thomas street where I was born in 1936.  I read the article today in the guest book from Frank Howarth who was also born at No.5 and also lives in Canada.

Talk about a small world!

Frank was born on the top floor.  I was born on the top floor.  i get this funny feeling inside me that maybe Frank's family moved into the same flat that we were in, when we moved out to go to Burdiehouse."

Neighbours

"We lived in the second flat from the left as you got to the top of the stair, if my memory serves me right.  The Fergusons were one of our neighbours on the top floor, and I remember the Robertsons that Frank was talking about, very well."

61 Years

"Just imagine, in the 61 years since since we lived there, I've lived in Burdiehouse, then Australia, then Canada, then back to Scotland (Paisley), then South Africa, then Canada where we've lived since 1977."

John (Jack) Wylie, Toronto, Ontario, Canada:  Message in Guest Book:  May 8, 2008

 

Recollections

16.

Rhona Adams (née Howarth)

St Catharine's Ontario, Canada

Thank you to Rhona Adams (née Howarth) - daughter (or sister?) of Frank Howarth (14 above) for adding to the EdinPhoto Guest Book.

Rhona wrote:

No 5  -  Our Family

"Our family lived on the first at top of the stairs at 5 East Thomas Street from 1945 to 1956.   We were Gracie & Frank with their 4 kids Rhona, Irene, Frank and Mike.

No 5  -  Neighbours

"There were:

-  Lou Ferguson and her daughter Betty, then

-  The Hendersons.

Next door down:

-  The Webb Family, then

-  Dolly Thomson and her 2 sons.

Main Floor:

 -  Granny Robinson.

The other Robertson Family was Willie his kids, Charley, Isabel, Phemie and Rose.  There were probably more kids.  I can't remember their names.

My mother was close to a family at the other end of the street named Agnes McMahon was about 9 kids in the family Rhona."

Rhona Adams (née Howarth) St Catharine's Ontario, Canada:
Message posted in EdinPhoto Guest Book:  May 9, 2008

 

Recollections

17.

John (Jack) Wylie

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Thank you to Jack Wylie who wrote:

No 5

"Thanks to Rhona Howarth for writing about 5 East Thomas Street.  I've been racking my brains since I read her comments, trying to figure out how I can't remember the Howarth family.

I remember most of the neighbours that Rhona mentions:

-  My mother, Rita, and Louie Ferguson were best friends.

-  I clearly remember Betty Ferguson."

Family

"My twin sisters were born at number 5 on May13, 1945.

-  One of the twins now lives in Sarnia, Canada and the other is still in Edinburgh, living at Alnwickhill.

-  My oldest sister Margaret died over 30 years ago at age 42.

-  My other sister Christine lives in Perth Australia.

-  My brother William, age 65, lives in Melbourne, Australia."

Neighbours

"The one family that I remember well from No 5 is the Barrs, on the bottom floor.  There was three boys in that family.

I also had cousins, the McPhersons, who lived at No 1 South Elgin Street.  There were three girls in the family.

Have you read all the interesting stories on East Thomas Street, Rhona?   It's amazing how such a small street as East Thomas Street can have so many people who lived there now living all over the world."

John (Jack) Wylie, Toronto, Ontario, Canada:  Message in Guest Book:  May 10, 2008

 

Recollections

18.

Irene Sharrock (née Day)

Thank you to Irene Sharrock for reading the comments from Frank Howarth (14 above) and replying:

Leith Walk Primary School

"Frank Howarth mentions his old friend, Terry Jones.  I know that Terry moved out to Canada but sadly died a couple of years ago. 

If Frank would like to know what's been going on with his old class mates over the last couple of years, I would be glad to contact him with information about the 2 reunions we have had and also the visit to Leith Walk School last year."

Irene Sharrock (née Day):  May 12, 2008

I don't have Frank Howarth's email address, so I've also added a reply to the message that he left in the EdinPhoto guest book on May 6, 2008, telling him about the message above from Irene Sharrock.

I hope Frank finds the message above or in the EdinPhoto guest book.

-  Peter Stubbs:  May 21, 2008

 

Recollections

19.

Marion Russell

Mountcastle, Edinburgh

Thank you to Marion Russell who wrote:

The Russell Family

"My husband John Russell (nickname Shonnie) lived at 8 East Thomas Street with his brothers Archie and George and his mum Aggie.  He has many happy memories of his childhood there and felt that they were all friendly with neighbours and kids.

When we were first married in 1969 we bought a ground floor flat in East Thomas street across the road from No 8 where John's mum still lived.  It was just a room and kitchen, damp and very cramped.  We stayed there until the council bought us out as they were demolishing the whole street.

We stayed for a while in Bonnyrigg beside my mum and dad, but moved to Mountcastle 20 years ago as John loved to be near the area he was brought up in.  He is still friendly with the pals he had in childhood"

Marion Russell, Mountcastle, Edinburgh:  May 14, 2008

 

Recollections

20.

John Keighren

Portugal

Thank you to John Keighren who wrote:

The Keighren Family

"My father was Frank Keighren. His parents were Mary and Frank who lived, I believe, at No. 17 East Thomas Street.

He had a brother, John, married to Helen and they had 2 daughters, Helen and Mary who lived at No. 18.

 He had 4 sisters - Janet (Chrobak), Mary (Brien), Margaret (White) and Sal (Welsh).

 I read the comments of Frances Welsh (9 above) and believe her to be my cousin. 

As a kid, I used to spend most of my summer holidays in Edinburgh, staying with my Aunt Mary and Uncle Rick (Brien) and their son Freddie.

I well remember John Scott who's Nan lived in the same stair as my Gran and my Aunt Janet.

I now live in Portugal but my sister Margaret still lives in Carlisle. If anyone can remember me and would like to get in touch, my e-mail address is john.keighren@sapo.pt

Hopefully..."

John Keighren, Portugal:  message in Guest Book, May 24, 2008

Messages for John Keighren

I received two emails from John Clark, now living in Canada.  They were sent to me on May 31, 2008.

John Clark has read the comments above and is now hoping to make contact with John Keighren.  John Clark knows many members of the Keighren family and says he probably has some photos of the family.

I've forwarded John Clark's emails to John Keighren.

-  Peter Stubbs:  May 31, 2008

 

Recollections

21.

Margaret Robinson (née Keighren)

Carlisle, Cumbria, England

Thank you to Margaret Robinson who left this message in the guest book.

 Margaret wrote:

The Keighren Family

"I've just discovered Edinphoto and it brought back so many lovely childhood memories.

My grandparents were Frank and Mary Keighren from 18 East Thomas Street. My father (Frank) was their eldest son.  He sadly passed away in 1977.

My brother, John, and I visited my dad's family for two weeks every year when we were children between the 1950s and 1960s.

I remember most of my cousins living in East Thomas Street - Anna and Janet Chrobak, Helen and Mary Keighren, Johnny, Frances, James Welsh.

Also there were Freddie and Gordon Brien (Gilmerton, I think) and dad's sister Margaret who lived in Canada. Sadly my dad's brother Johnnie and his sisters Margaret, Mary, Sal and Janet have all passed away now."

Margaret Robinson (née Keighren):  Carlisle, Cumbria, England

 

Recollections

22.

Joanne Cockburn

Edinburgh

Thank you to Joanne Cockburn who wrote:

Family

"How lovely to find this site by chance.  My grandparents (Collins) lived in No.7.  My Mother and all her brothers were brought up in East Thomas Street.

My parents lived in the same ground floor flat when they were married in their early twenties (Cockburn), and my Gran married Jock Reid who had a grocer's shop in the street.   Mum and all my uncles and cousins went to Leith Walk primary School as did I in the 1950s."

Entertainment

"We moved when I was about five years old, but I remember all the neighbours looking out for everyone's children and the Backgreen Concerts and the family with the ponies.

We would go to the Band of Hope on a FridayI still remember all those songs - and promise to abstain from intoxicating liquor!"

Horses and Carts

"Someone mentioned the milk man with his horse.  My Grandad did deliver the milk in this way. I believe there was also a fishmonger on a horse and cart at one time.

There is a tall tale about the horse coming into the stair to get a 'jam piece' and getting the cart stuck in the entry, but I don't know how true that is! 

School

"I have mixed memories of school as I remember being given the 'belt' and crying for days - mostly at the humiliation I think apart from the pain!

Joanne Cockburn, Edinburgh:  July 18, 2008

 

Recollections

23.

Anna Chrobak

Edinburgh

Thank you to Anna Chrobak who left this message in the EdinPhoto guestbook:

Family

"The EdinPhoto web site sure has brought back a lot of great memories of the good old East Thomas Street days.  I was born there in number 18 on July 1947 and attended Leith Walk school.

My grandmother Mary Keighren moved into the street when she got married to my grandfather and had 6 children who all attended Leith Walk School.

My mother Janet got a house in the street when she married my father, as did my uncle Johnny and aunt Helen, and aunt Sal and uncle Johnny.

my aunt Margaret and uncle Gordon also lived in the street till they left for Canada in 1952 with their 3 children Irene, Joyce and Margaret.  They had another 5 children in Canada who all still live there.

I read Roz Paton's comments and passed this on to my sis Janet so yes, this is a great memory jerker."

Anna Chrobak, Edinburgh:  Message in Edinphoto guestbook, July 6, 2008

 

Recollections

24

Richard Martin

Borders, Scotland

Thank you to Dick Martin, Borders, Scotland who wrote

"Two things that come to mind about No.13 where I lived:

The Bookie

At the mouth of the close, the local Bookie stood and took bets - slips of paper with the names of the chosen horses or dogs and the money wrapped inside.

As street betting was illegal then, the punter (the person placing the bet) never put their own name on it, they used a non de plume.  My dad used 'Dial 0'.

Once or perhaps it was twice a year the Bookie would be arrested by the Vice Squad, plead guilty, be fined £2, then return to his pitch.

After betting became legal around 1962/3 the Bookie moved into No. 13a after the Nisbet family moved out.

The Tenement Wall

In 1953/4 the front wall of  No 13 started to bulge outwards and the tenants facing the street were decanted, temporarily, into other accommodation within the town.

These families were:

-  Ground floor:  Logan and Nisbet (13a)

-  1st Floor:   Beaton and Mulvey

-  Top Floor:  Kiernan and  ?

It took almost a year before they could return.

Richard Martin, Borders, Scotland:  August 5, 2008

 

Recollections

25

Richard Martin

Borders, Scotland

Thank you to Dick Martin, Borders, Scotland who wrote

Chinatown:  Question

"I lived in East Thomas St from 1938 until 1959 and I never found out why it was called China Town.

Certainly no Chinese ever lived there during all that time.

Any clues?"

Richard Martin, Borders, Scotland:  August 6, 2008

 

Recollections

26

John Welsh

Gracemount, Edinburgh

Thank you to John Welsh who wrote

Chinatown:  Answer

"In answer to how East Thomas Street got it's name, Chinatown I heard, many years ago, an explanation, true or false, I am not sure.

I was born there, and left when I was ten.  During that time and afterwards until it was demolished, everyone knew everyone and they were all close friends, the street being like a little town of it's own.

An old name for a good friend was 'China'. 

Hence the name 'Chinatown'.  As I say, true or false, but my personal opinion is 'true'.  I'm sure that everyone who stayed in the street would agree that, if it is not the true reason, it certainly should be."

John Welsh, Gracemount, Edinburgh:  September 5, 2008

Recollections

27

Lillian Patterson

Australia

Thank you to Lillian Patterson who wrote

Fifty Years

"Your site brought back so many memories. My family has a 50 year history of the area:

- Living in East Thomas Street, Brunswick Road and Bothwell Street.

-  Playing at Montgomery Street play ground

-  Leith Walk school.

-  Walking to St Mary's Cathedral along London Road.

- Trying to sneak into the public toilets at the top of Easter Road at the Park

-  The 'Coopjacks' at the Tiffin on Saturdays, when dad was in Ladbrokes. We would return once his money was gone and he'd calmed down.

The 'Bandy Hope' as I used to call it, on Friday nights. The scouts and the brownies were in the same hall.

-  Davy McEwen's junk shop on Brunswick Road.

Mum and dad were a member of the Hibs Club down a lane between Easter Roadand Bothwell Street.

Bonfires

"I remember the bonfires in East Thomas Street where an idiot lit 'bangers' in my brother's back pocket.  I saw the scar again last week.  It's funny how the memories come back.

Bakery

"We played on the railway lines on Easter Road, going down 'the lane' at the back of Brunswick Road.  Dad had lock-up garages along with Eddie Gray and the Kelly brothers.

And who can forget the meat or apple pies at the bakery at 47 Brunswick Road?

Move to East Thomas Street

"My family moved into East Thomas Street during the War, about 1943.  There were my granny, Ann Patterson, and children Jacob, Bob, Billy and Caroline.

They lived on the ground floor flat of  6 East Thomas Street.  My granny died in 1951.  My mother and her brothers continued to live at No 6.  Bob and Billy joined the merchant navy and went to Australia.   We're all in Australia now."

Here are some family photos taken at 6 East Thomas Street:

1.

Gran Annie Patterson and her son Jacob ©

This photograph is of my gran, Annie, with her son, Jacob.  It was taken in the back yard at  6 East Thomas Street:

2.

Patterson family and bird cages outside No 6, East Thomas Street ©

And here are Caroline Patterson  with her niece Caroline and her son Louie Izatt. My brother Alex Patterson is on the right.  Alex remembers that he birds would be kept outside on the pavement."

Wedding

"In 1952, my mother Caroline Patterson married a man called Alex Patterson (no relation).  This caused a bit of a stir in the family and the street as the name plate on the door never changed from 'A Patterson'.

My aunt Harriet Hartley wanted to pin the Wedding Certificate on the door to stop the gossip!

My brother Alex was born in 1954, and I was born 1962. We both went to Leith Walk school.  Did Miss Nelson ever die?

Leaving East Thomas Street

"The family moved out of East Thomas Street to 47 Brunswick Road, we went up in the world: that house had an indoor bath!

Mum kept 6 East Thomas Street, renting it out until the street was demolished.

My cousin Jimmy Bennett was working for the company that demolished it.  It was very sad for all of us to see the buildings torn down. I remember sneaking into the old house before it was demolished and knowing it was the end of and era.

Lillian Patterson, Australia:  September 7, 2008

 

Recollections

28

Alan McKay

Thank you to Alan McKay who wrote

Family and Friends

"I grew up in East Thomas Street with my family, Dad John, Mum Amy, sister Linda, sister Susan from 1956, until the mid-1960s when we moved to Easter Road.

My cousins Harry, Kenneth and Jacqueline, lived at the bottom of the street above the sweet shop. I still remember when Jacqueline's boyfriend drove a large American car and parked outside her stair.

I remember the Kellys in our flats waking my mum and dad and asking them the time because they did not have an alarm clock.

I went to Leith Walk School with my best mate from the street Peter Dunbar and his brother John."

Shops

"I remember the old blind newsagent and the sweet shop on opposite corners of the street.  I used to push past the people to get my Old Fashioned Spangles.

I still remember the bookie's shop and Middleton's pub.  I was back there last year for a drink. It's not changed in any way.  Does anyone else remember the large old cart that used to be outside Middleton's, selling fish at the weekends?

There was a shop opposite us, in the middle of the street, but I only vaguely remember it being a food shop.

There was the shoe shop at the top of the street, and the Band of Hope around the corner on East William street where we got orange juice."

Bonfires

"I remember fighting with the lads from East William street over firewood for the bonfires, one at each end of the street so the fire engine couldn't put them both out."

Hard Times

"Times were hard, but everybody was in the same state, not much money but we were happy, or so it seemed then."

Leaving Edinburgh

"I've travelled lots since then, but I keep up to date with my beloved Hibees football team.

I'm now based in County Durham area.

It would be nice to chat to people from the old  days."

Alan McKay, County Durham, England:  September 23, 2008

 

Recollections

29

John Welsh

Gracemount, Edinburgh

John Welsh wrote:

"Could you post this on East Thomas Street please, Peter?"

Christmas Greetings

"To Peter and to everyone who has posted on his wonderful site, and to everyone who has posted on East Thomas Street:

'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."

John Welsh, Gracemount, Edinburgh:  December 17, 2008

Thanks for your message John.  I'm a bit embarrassed by your description of the site, but I'm pleased that you and others from around the world have found it and are continuing to contribute to it.

 

Recollections

30.

Dick Martin

Borders, Scotland

Thank you to Dick Martin wrote:

Air Raid Shelters

"My granddaughter asked me what that triangular item was in the middle of the back green of No. 13.

The back greens between East Thomas Street and East William Street ©

It dawned on me then that, while I took it for granted, many younger generations would never have seen anything like it before.  It was, of course the entrance to the underground air raid shelter.

Only alternate back greens had air raid shelters as can be seen in the photo. No.14 had none but No.15 had one.

Sand Bags

"Also stacks of sand bags, for use in an air raid,  can be seen in he photo, leaning against the walls No 13 and some of the other tenements."

 Dick Martin, Borders, Scotland:  August 27, 2008

 

Recollections

31.

Jim Ruxton

West End, Edinburgh

Jim Ruxton wrote:

Games

"Apart from our street, our main playing area was the backgreen.

Our backgreen was the one that was played in most often and only had grass growing in the four corners.  Football and cycling round on our bikes was popular.

When we were not cowboys, pirates or soldiers, we would be Robin Hood.  There was a drysalters in Easter Road which sold canes which were supposed to be for gardeners but we made them into bows and arrows. 

We would see who could fire them the highest.  This meant many landed in the gutters on the roof so we were always glad when the chimney sweeps came as they would throw them back down to us. 

Two other favourite playing areas were

- the Kings Park (as it was known then) for the football matches

-  London Road Gardens for cowboys and Indians etc.

The best fun was sliding down Calton Hill on flattened Egg boxes.   We were safe because there was a dip in the hill to stop us before the wall at the bottom. 

Also, there was a railway goods station opposite in Brunswick Street, and because it was not allowed, playing in there was an extra thrill.  For many years there was a rumour that when it closed it would be a helicopter pad."

Street Visitors

"Regulars in our street were the Onion Johnny, the knife-sharpening man and the many singers who would work their way down the backgreens hoping for a few coppers in their caps.

The coalman and the chimney sweeps were also familiar sights."

Picture Houses

"Though the Eastway in Easter Road, and the Regent in Abbeyhill were closer, most of us liked the Salon in Leith Walk.

 There were 2 feature films, plus a travel featurette, half a dozen cartoons, trailers for the next 4 weeks and a Pathe News.

Not only that!  As the lights never went up, you could stay all day and watch the films again and again."

China Town

"I was told that East Thomas Street was one of the last to get
electric lighting and the gas street lights used to look like Chinese lanterns."

Jim Ruxton, West End, Edinburgh:  June 26, 2009.

 

Recollections

32.

David Nelson

Mountcastle, Edinburgh

David Nelson wrote:

Photos from 1950s

"Jim Ruxton's memories (Recollections 31 above) cover most of our memories of our early years.

Here are a few photos, taken around East Thomas Street in the 1950s.  They may be of interest to:

-  Frank Shaw  (Recollections 3 above)

Sandra Allan  (Recollections 7 above)."

Group of Children  -  East Thomas Street ©    Group of Children  -  East Thomas Street ©    David Nelson's Dad and Sister  -  East Thomas Street ©

David Nelson's family and friends  -  East Thomas Street ©     David Nelson, Jim Ruxton and Dena Webster -  East Thomas Street ©

David Nelson, Mountcastle, Edinburgh:  July 13, 2009

Thank you to David Nelson, Janet Nelson and Eta Parr for providing the names and dates for some of these photos.

Frank Shaw and Ian Allan

Frank Shaw is in two of these photos.  Ian Allan is also in two of the photos.

Please click on the thumbnail images above to enlarge the photos  and read the names of all the people in them.

Recollections

32.

Update 1

Christine Anderson (née Keith)

Duddingston, Edinburgh

I have now been sent a photograph of a group of children in the back green of 2 East William Street by Christine Anderson

   Seven children in the back green of 2 East William Street ©

Christine wrote:

"I notice David Nelson from East Thomas Street has been in touch    He was my Partner for my Qualifying Dance.

I did not want him and he did not want me but as we were the only two left Mr Harper made us a pair."

Christine Anderson (née Keith), Duddingston, Edinburgh  May 18, 2009

 

Recollections

32.

Update 2

David Nelson

Mountcastle, Edinburgh

Thank you to David who replied to Christine Anderson's comments above by sending this photograph of his class at Leith Walk Primary School, taken on the day of their Qualifying Dance.

Leith Walk Primary School  -  The day of the Qualifying Dance, around 1957 ©

David believes that the photo was taken around 1957.

David Nelson Mountcastle, Edinburgh: February 25 + 26, 2010

 

Recollections

33.

Frank Shaw

Perth, Western Australia

Frank Shaw who used to live in East Thomas Street and now lives in Perth, Western Australia wrote:

Return to Edinburgh

"I was in Edinburgh last year and discovered that a small section of the back  garden wall down at the bottom of what was East Thomas Street is still standing.

There are now a new set of flats there, enclosing a small garden."

Frank Shaw, Perth, Western Australia:  August 2, 2009

 

Recollections

34.

Kim Traynor

Tollcross, Edinburgh

Kim Traynor wrote:

Growing up in East Thomas Street

"I was born at the Eastern General Hospital in 1950 and grew up in East Thomas Street until my family moved away in 1964, so these were very formative years which made a profound and lasting impression on me.

I remember Roza Paton (8 above) well.  She mentions a fire at No.18. That was my house. The fire happened about a year after our family had moved out to live in a council house at Granton.

18 East Thomas Street ©

Interestingly, the residents of No.18 East Thomas Street, where I lived, seem over-proportionately represented among your contributors. There’s even a message on the site from my oldest brother in Canada whom I haven’t seen for years.

Coronation -  Street Party

   1953 Coronation Street Party in East Thomas Street ©

"Just as an aside, I am at the second table from the camera in the Coronation street party scene (though not visible).  Although I was only three years old when the photo was taken, I remember it as if it was yesterday, right down to the tense wait for the teenaged Gordon Shanks turning up to play his bagpipes.  He was clearly regarded as a child prodigy.

For many years I still had the Coronation mug and the plastic replica Coronation coach until it disintegrated."

The Dark Side

"Since reading the recollections of others, my brain has been teeming with memories.  What I find most interesting are the omissions.  For example, no-one mentions the vermin: flies, bluebottles, fleas etc.  Nor is crime mentioned, probably for reasons of diplomacy – though one could relate incidents without naming names.

One contributor wonders whether people are looking back through rose-tinted spectacles. Indeed, they are. There was a whole dark side to East Thomas Street that doesn’t seem to be represented among the golden memories."

China Town

"I’m amused at the various theories as to why it was called Chinatown. The one I like best is the suggestion that it was densely populated.

Personally, I always assumed it was given that name because it was so rough and a ‘no-go area’ for outsiders.  In truth, there weren’t that many thugs, but there were some, especially in my time, the Teddy-boy era. Perhaps the contributors, knowing there weren’t that many bad apples, don’t realise how the area appeared to the outside world.  The police always patrolled in twos!

Marshalling Yards

"Another curious omission is the marshalling yards. I spent all my nights as a child falling asleep to the sounds of shunting engine whistles and clanging coal wagons.  Even to this day, I can sleep in any environment, through any noise.

Playing in the Street

"The mention of a word like ‘siver’ (in the Edinburgh Slang section of the web site) brings back the memory of how one played out in the rain running down the street following lollipop sticks – which we called ‘boats’ – as they made their way downhill in the flooded gutter (featuring specially created dams) until they disappeared down the siver."

Kim Traynor,  Tollcross, Edinburgh:  September 1, 2009

Recollections

35.

Michael Morton

Canada

Michael Morton wrote:

Family

"I was born in 1949 and used to live at 5 East Thomas Street.  My sister Rhona and brother Frank have already added there comments and I have to say that it gave me warmest feelings to read about life back in East Thomas street.  Its so nice to recall those days.  It has been so long since I even thought about it.

We left Edinburgh, I think, some time around 1957."

Memories

"At East Thomas Street, I remember:

collecting cigarette butts with my friends from the street for someone.

going to the Band of Hope which for me was very exciting because although we were not very religious they would show some slides or a movie. To me this was entertainment.

 going to the movies with my brother Franky and sisters, Rhona and Irene.  Since we didn't have the money to get in, they would put me on a box and I would start to sing to get money

I also sang at Princess Street Gardens with the promise of an ice cream which my mother, Grace, ate.

a Canadian girl either visited,or maybe moved to, East Thomas Street.  I was totally infatuated  by her because of her accent and I was crushed to learn that she fancied my brother, Franky."

Mother

"My mother was widowed.  She dyed her hair blonde and was quite the looker, a least according to my friends who thought she reminded them of Diana Dors."

Doctor

"We had a doctor,  named Doctor Deveral ,or something like that. I could only remember that it sounded like Doctor Devil and after our vaccinations it sounded appropriate to me."

Neighbours

"I liked East Thomas street, and never realized how poor we really were.  I recall having great fun with our family, and our neighbours just seemed like family, although we all seem to have nick names, some not so complimentary."

Michael Morton, Canada:  August 27, 2009

 

Recollections

36.

Kim Traynor

Tollcross, Edinburgh

Kim Traynor wrote:

Let's Walk the Dykes

"I remember an almost daily ritual that took place amongst the kids when someone suggested, “Let's walk the dykes”. 

This  involved a balancing act, walking along the  top of the walls between the back greens of Elgin Street, East Thomas Street and East William Street.

On the East Thomas Street side the dykes varied in thickness. One was particularly thin and thought of as being more difficult to get across successfully. On the other side of the street, bordering Elgin Street, the dykes were of varying heights.

For us kids, each street had a different status.  Elgin Street topped the hierarchy and East William came bottom.

The women of Elgin Street would always object and rap on their windows if we were spotted. The East Thomas Street and East William Street residents couldn’t have cared less!"

Kim Traynor,  Tollcross, Edinburgh:  September 2+4, 2009

Recollections

37.

Kim Traynor

Tollcross, Edinburgh

Kim Traynor wrote:

War Memorabilia

"Growing up in the post-war period, I remember lots of war memorabilia circulating among children.

I remember playing in a brick air-raid shelter in one of the backgreens of Elgin Terrace, dressed in the peaked cap of a British Army Captain and wearing a Sam Browne belt, while brandishing a German Lueger pistol and two pineapple grenades (hopefully dud, though they were never checked).

Medals were also fairly common. At least two German iron crossed passed through my hands. Some of these items were war booty, brought back from Occupied Germany by British servicemen.

They were swapped quite normally alongside other everyday toys.

When I see the value of a Lueger now, I kick myself that I probably parted with mine for a pile of old Marvelman comics!"

Kim Traynor,  Tollcross, Edinburgh:  September 26, 2009

Recollections

38.

Kim Traynor

Tollcross, Edinburgh

Kim Traynor wrote:

Conkers

"About half way along Brunswick Road stands a horse-chestnut tree whose branches overhang a stone wall.  We called it 'the conker tree'

Horse Chestnut Tree in Brunswick Road. Looking to the SW across Brunswick Road ©

Every autumn, kids making their way home from Leith Walk Primary School could be seen picking up fallen chestnuts from the pavement below.  The bigger the better.

You took them home and hardened them by baking them in the oven. (Another method was to soak them in vinegar.)  If they didn’t split, they came out hard-baked. Then you used a hammer and nail to make a hole through the centre, threaded it with string and tied a knot at the bottom end.  Again, you might lose a conker at this stage, if the nail made it split.

Next day you challenged other players in the playground. You held your conker still while the other player walloped it (‘overhand’). If yours remained intact, you walloped theirs … and so on until one of the conkers split or exploded with fragments flying in all directions.

Individual conkers were rated according to the number of wins notched up.  After 10 wins, the best conkers became 'bullies'. Further wins were recorded as 'a bully 5, a bully 8' etc.

It was a clever use of a natural resource to provide great entertainment."

Kim Traynor,  Tollcross, Edinburgh:  September 26, 2009

Recollections

39.

Kim Traynor

Tollcross, Edinburgh

Kim Traynor tells me that he remembers the cry "yer lum's up" that was shouted when there was a chimney fire.

(See Edinburgh Expressions).

Kim added

Chimneys

"Chimneys were supposed to be swept once a year to avoid a lum fire.

It was great, as a wee laddie, watching the sweeps’ ritual: one on the roof, one with an old folded-out newspaper or sacking, stretched over the fireplace, then a shout that sounded like “Heeeoh!” from the man below to identify which flue, and whoosh, the long, slow rumble of falling soot as the brush came down the chimney!"

Kim Traynor,  Tollcross, Edinburgh:  September 26, 2009

Recollections

40.

Frank Shaw

Perth, Western Australia

Thank you to Frank Shaw for sending me this sketch

 Frank wrote:

Street Numbers

"Here is a sketch of East Thomas Street, showing the close numbers and the locations of the shops. I drew this to scale but I may have got some things wrong, so any comments are welcome."

Please click on the thumbnail image below to enlarge it.

Sketch of East Thomas Street, including house numbers ©

House Layout

"Here is the layout of the house I grew up in at 18 East Thomas Street. I've drawn this from memory, but I think it is quite accurate."

Please click on the thumbnail image below to enlarge it.

Lay out inside No 18, East Thomas Street ©

Shades of Grey

"I remember walking home during the winter when it was a raining.  There was absolutely no green material in my street  -  no trees, no grass, no plants it was a hundred shades of grey.

The roof slates were three stories high and to a five year old they where as high as the Empire State Building, they glistening in the weak sunlight or during the never ending rain.  Also the rain gave the grey granite a clean sparking appearance."

Park

"Here is a small park that now occupies the site where East Thomas Street once stood."

Frank Shaw, Perth, Western Australia:  October 24 + November 18, 2009

Recollections

41.

Sandy Gordon

Edinburgh

Sandy Gordon who lived a Edina Street, close to East Thomas Street, wrote:

Edina Street

"My parents lived in Leith for a while at Portland Place then Queen Charlotte Street before coming to 9 Edina Street.  That's that's when I appeared on the scene.

Our windows looked onto the bowling green between Elgin Terrace and Montgomery Street."

1940 Map

Please click on the thumbnail image below to see an extract from a 1940 map of Edinburgh.  It shows:

-  the position of Edina Street, a short street, between Elgin Terrace and Easter Road, to the east of East Thomas Street.

-  the bowling green mentioned above by Sandy.

Edinburgh and Leith map, 1940  -  East Thomas Street and surrounding streets ©

 

Sandy added:

Shops, Cinema, Pub

"Directly across from our stair was a shop with the name McIntyre's.  At the end of East Thomas Street there was a shop with the name Cunnison's.

I used to go to the local cinema on Easter Road, The Eastway.  Just down from the Eastway was a shop called Dryburgh's which sold liquor.

I also used to go to the local 'chippie', Miele's, at the corner of Easter Road and Edina Place.

My father used to go for a pint at Middleton's pub in Edina Street, which is still there."

Friends

"Many of my childhood friends were:

From Easter Road:

Stuart and Penny Ward,

 Derek Lumsden,

Sandra Faulkner,

Alan Wood,

Andy, Ian and Sandra Irvine,

Gus Dunlop.

From Edina Street:

-  Tommy and Patricia Brown.

-  Linda Glover,

-  Donald Davidson,

-  the Keogh family.

From Elgin Terrace

-  Derek Nimmo

-  Danny Sweeney."

School Days

"I spent a lot of my time playing in London Road Gardens.  I used to collect steam engine numbers at Dobies Park which overlooked the main Edinburgh ~ London railway line.

My primary school was Leith Walk School and my uniform was bought from Bowden's in Easter Road."

Sandy Gordon, Edinburgh:  December 1, 2009

Recollections

42.

Kim Traynor

Tollcross, Edinburgh

Kim Traynor wrote:

Making Money

"Here is a strong memory that keeps coming back from my time in East Thomas Street.  If we needed money for the pictures, but had none, there were two ways of getting some quickly for a little effort.

'Rag Store'

One was to ask at home if any clothes were 'ready to throw out'. Given how few clothes we seemed to have during the period of post-war austerity, I’m surprised to remember that there usually were.

Then, you and your pal, or pals, would throw your bundles together and set off optimistically for the rag store a few streets away.  It was situated at the far end of Easter Road, No. 172.  None of us knew what it was called at that time.  (It’s now called Sunnyside, but the name’s a recent invention.)

On arriving, you would be staring into the dark chasm of a big open warehouse with piles of rags of all colours rising to the roof, like the side of a great pyramid. Your bags would be emptied for sorting and thrown willy-nilly onto this great man-made mountain(I can’t recall if they were weighed first.)

In return, you’d get a few coppers pressed into your hand - always far less than expected, but enough not to be sniffed at.  To this day, I’m not sure what the rags were used for, though I was told at the time that they went to make paper.  I’ve no idea if that was true.

'Empties'

Another way to rustle up some non-existent cash for the ‘flicks’ was to spread the word among your pals to collect ‘empties’, i.e. empty lemonade bottles on which a 1d (penny) returnable deposit  was paid back.

I remember pestering neighbours to see if they had any ‘empties’ they could give me. Then, once the ‘gang’ got together, the ‘empties’ would go into a ‘shopper’ (shopping bag) and you’d set off - usually on a hot summer’s day because that’s when ‘empties were more abundant - for the Hendry’s lemonade factory at the foot of Lower London Road, about a mile away.

There, you’d hand them in to a man in a wee reception booth and, hopefully, emerge with enough ‘dough’ (too many gangster films!) to pay your way into the Salon picture-house for another adventure film and ‘colour cartoon’."

Kim Traynor,  Tollcross, Edinburgh:  December 16, 2009

Recollections

43.

Ina Wood (née McGhee)

Ina wrote:

Neighbours

"I stayed next door to David Nelson (32 above).  We stayed with my grandfather.

Jim Ruxton (31 above) stayed upstairs, next door to my Aunt, Jenny Parr."

Cowboys & Indians

"I remember, well, when the boys would play cowboys and indians in the backgreen, and it was always the girls who got tied up.  It was good memories."

Ina Wood (née McGhee):  Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book:  December 21, 2009

Recollections

44.

Kim Traynor

Tollcross, Edinburgh

Kim Traynor wrote:

Spud Gun

"I remember spud guns.

With a metal toy pistol in one hand and a raw, peeled potato in the other, you pushed the barrel into the potato. When you pulled it out, it had picked up a potato pellet which you could fire at your pals as you chased them through stairs and back greens.

Today’s Health & Safety brigade would ban it straight away before anyone lost an eye."

Kim Traynor,  Tollcross, Edinburgh:  December 16, 2009

Recollections

45.

Elaine Campbell

USA

Elaine Campbell, USA, added this message to the EdinPhoto guest book:

Spud Gun

"I was born In 1957 and went to Leith Walk school.  We lived, first on Bothwell Street, then on West Montgomery Place.  Are those streets still there? ***

My mum (Jean Black) my two Aunts (Rena and Margaret) lived with my nana at 11 East Thomas Street.  I remember many things - Mieles, Learmonths, names I haven't thought of in years.

My family emigrated to the US in 1970I'm looking forward to visiting soon, after  having been away for almost 40 years.

 Thanks for the memories!!"

Elaine Campbell, USA:  Message posted to EdinPhoto guestbook:  January 27, 2010

*** Yes, both Bothwell Street and West Montgomery Place are still there.  East Thomas Street has been demolished and replaced by new housing.

Peter Stubbs:  Edinburgh,:  January 28, 2009

 Recollections

46.

Pat Doyle

Australia

Thank you to Pat Doyle who wrote:

Chinatown

"I remember a lot of the people that have written in, including Richard Martin, who I think was called "tich" at the time.  He asks the question about Chinatown (26 above).

Well, when I was about seven, I asked my grandmother the same question and she told me that there were two Chinese brothers who, I was led to believe, ran a shop before Jimmy Bruce.

They and they were always violently fighting and the police were there a lot of the time, and it was they who started saying there was 'trouble in Chinatown'.

Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but that's what I've always believed.

Pat Doyle, Australia:  March 27, 2010

Recollections

47.

Kim Traynor

Tollcross, Edinburgh

In 'Recollections 34' above, Kim Traynor mentions the railway marshalling yards between Leith Walk and Easter Road. 

Now Kim has asked for information about the yard.

Kim wrote:

Question

Railway Goods Yard

"I’d appreciate your letting me know if you ever come across the proper name of the North British Railway Goods Yard that lay between Leith Walk and Easter Road.

I can’t seem to find a name for it on any map, except ‘Goods Yard’.  It can’t have been referred to as Leith Walk, as that would have caused confusion with the Leith Walk Goods Yard below Pilrig.

Maybe railway men called it the Easter Road Goods Yard or referred to it as Shrubhill."

Kim Traynor,  Tollcross, Edinburgh:  July 4, 2010

Reply to Kim?

If you know the answer to this question, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to Kim.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  July 4, 2010

Recollections

48.

Ronald Stout

Denmark

Ronald Stout wrote:

David Nelson

"It was great to read Recollections 32 from David Nelson and see the photos of him as a child.  They brought back memories. We were in the same class at Leith Walk School. I remember him being a bit on the quiet side but a really nice guy."

Hillside Street

"I lived in Hillside Street and was afraid to go near East Thomas Street, even though many of my classmates lived there. Perhaps it was because we always feared raids from them on Guy Fawkes night. We had guards looking after our bonfire in the afternoon.

I remember being petrified when some of the bigger lads said that there was a group of raiders on the way from East Thomas Street. I tactfully retired to the safety of my first flat bedroom."

London Road Gardens

"London Road Gardens was also our playground. The two mounds at the east end, we called purple (the highest) and brown (the lowest) mountain.

I tried finding them a couple of years ago, but they were well and truly hidden. They were in fact gunnery mounds used by Cromwell when he besieged Leith/Edinburgh."

Leith Walk School

"I had Mr. Thompson at Leith Walk School – luckily not the feared Mr. Harper. I met the latter at a school reunion a couple of years ago.  He was quite pleasant to talk to."

Denmark

"I’m now in Denmark where I’ve lived since 1970.  It’s amazing how many old school mates and other friends have ended up abroad."

Ronald Stout, Denmark:  October 10, 2010

Recollections

49.

John Henderson

Wales

Here is a message posted by John Henderson in the EdinPhoto guestbook:

Memories

"I found East Thomas Street on the EdinPhoto web site.  It was a trip down memory lane, reading the comments from Frank, Rhona and Michael HowarthI spent many happy hours with them.  Please pass on my regards to them."

John Henderson, Wales:  Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  January 11, 2011

Recollections

50.

Tam McLuskey

Shannon Lake, Westbank, British Columbia, Canada

Thank you to Tam Mcluskey for posting messages in the EdinPhoto guest book.

Tom wrote:

Easter

"I have many great and happy memories of Easter:

 - ma grabbing me by the neck and dragging me to the Easter Sunday Services at the Band of Hope at Brunswick Road, off Easter Road, and just before entering the Church, her scrubbing my face with her

then going afterwards, with my sister and some friends, going to either the Dobies or the Lundies to roll our dyed-in-tea boiled eggs.

All us kids loved Easter, not only for its religious aspect, but also because we usually got something special for dinner."

Tam McLuskey, Shannon Lake, Westbank, British Columbia, Canada
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  April 23 + 24, 2011.

Recollections

51.

June Wood (née Robertson)

California, USA

Thank you to June Wood (née Robertson) for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guest book in response to Tam McLuskey's message (51 above).

June wrote:

Easter Eggs

"I also rolled Easter eggs at Dobies Field.  Everyone had a great time - well, when it didn't rain, but when did a wee bit water stop us from having fun?

I was born at the bottom of the Canongate, Edinburgh, and have:

 two brothers two brothers, John and Billy

 -  two sisters Chrissie and Harriet

It was the safest place i ever lived.  We all took care of each other."

Searching for People

George Mothersole

"I'm still looking for a friend, George Mothersole who lived next door to us.  We have scattered all over the world, we Scots.  You brought back some good memories"

June Wood (née Robertson), California, USA:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  April 25, 2011

Thank you to Terry McGuire who wrote:

Reply

George Mothersole

"I see an obituary notice of that name in today's Scotsman. It's an unusual name, so it might be the person that June Wood has been looking for."

Terry McGuire, Coventry, Warwickshire, England:  February 2, 2012

Recollections

52.

Colin Macintyre

Edinburgh

In 'Recollections 41' above, Sandy Gordon who lived in 9 Edina Street wrote:

Edina Street

"Our windows looked onto the bowling green between Elgin Terrace and Montgomery Street.  Directly across from our stair was a shop with the name McIntyre's."

Sandy Gordon, Edinburgh:  December 1, 2009

Now, Colin Macintyre writes:

Dairy Shop

"I'd like more information on the Mcintyre or Macintyre family of Elgin Street.  Their shop was possibly a dairy shop.  Any help would be greatly appreciated."

Colin Macintyre, Edinburgh:  September 12, 2011

Reply to Eleanor

If you'd like to send a reply to Eleanor, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to her.  Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh

Recollections

53.

Eleanor Macintyre

Portobello, Edinburgh

After reading Colin Macintyre's comments above, Eleanor Macintyre wrote:

Macintyre Dairy

"Macintyre's Dairy was in Edina Street.  I think Colin said Elgin Street."

Macintyre Drysalter

"There was also another Macintyre's shop, a dry-salter / ironmongers in Easter Road across from the Middleton's Bar.

Next door to this ironmongers, was the Croala's Ice Cream Café.  The shop and Café were a few steps away from Edina Street."

Memories

"I'm seeking  information on the families from both these shops, and any recollections people have of the shops."

Eleanor Macintyre, Edinburgh:  October 8, 2011

Reply to Eleanor

If you'd like to send a reply to Eleanor, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to her.  Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh

Recollections

54.

Tam McLuskey

Shannon Lake, Westbank, British Columbia, Canada

Thank you to Tam Mcluskey for posting another message in the EdinPhoto guest book.

Tom wrote:

Ice Cream and Chips

"When I was growing up in Chinatown (East Thomas Street) we had an extremely tough upbringing, but we respected the elderly and the women.  We had two places that we used to always frequent in Easter Road, across the road from Middleton's pub.  They were:

 Crolla's Ice Cream Shop.    Dom Crolla was a great character.  He was always kind to us keelies.

 Miele's Chip Shop The Mieles were great people as well

Does anyone remember these people?"

Tam McLuskey, Shannon Lake, Westbank, British Columbia, Canada
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  October 17, 2011.

Recollections

55.

Connie Newman

East Peckham, Kent, England

Connie Newman added this reply in the EdinPhoto guestbook to Tam's message above:

The Crolla Family

"Dominic Crolla was one of the Valvona & Crolla sons:

-  The oldest, Victor, ran the Valvona & Crolla shop at Elm Row.  Victor never married. - Then there was Dominic.  He ran the shop in Easter Road.

-  Then the sisters Phyllis, Gloria & Olivia.

All were great friends of my sister Toni.

-  Olivia married Carlo Contini and he ran the shop with Victor.  Valvona & Crolla is still run by the Contini family.

-  Phyllis married Armando Margiotta & they opened the Fudge Shop in the Royal Mile.  Armando made the fudge!!

-  Gloria never married."

The Miele Family

"My sister, Toni, married the oldest son Francis. Sadly they are both dead now, but the rest of the Miele family, Luigi, Lena and Virgilio (Gee) are still in Edinburgh."

Connie Newman, East Peckham, Kent, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  October 18, 2011.

Recollections

56.

Tam McLuskey

Shannon Lake, Westbank, British Columbia, Canada

Tam McLuskey replied to Connie Newman's message in the EdinPhoto guestbook:

Crolla's Shop

"Well, it is certainly a small world!  You know and are related ,to families that I grew up with and respected them so many years ago.  I remember so many times going to Crolla's for a snowballI believe Dom Crolla's place was called 'The Tiffin'."

Miele's Shop

"I remember also, as a youngster, when my dad would leave Middleton's Pub and send me to the Miele's  shop for a feast of fish and chips

We were all ragamuffins from Chinatown but they were always kind to us kids Tam"

Tam McLuskey, Shannon Lake, Westbank, British Columbia, Canada
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  October 18, 2011.

Recollections

57.

June Robertson (née Wood)

California, USA

June Robertson added her message to the EdinPhoto guestbook.

June wrote:

Shops

"I knew:

 - Norman Crolla.  I  wonder if he was from the same family as had the shop in Easter Road.

the Miele family. I thought they had a fish and chip shop in either the Canongate or the High Street.

Danti Lanni.  Oh, those lovely peas and vinegar on a cold winter night.  I often wondered why so many Italians came to Edinburgh."

June Robertson, California, USA:  Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  October 19, 2011 (?)

Recollections

58

Lillian Patterson

Australia

Thank you to Lillian Patterson who wrote:

My Brother

"I found this photo of my brother and I asked him what was the occasion when there were horses in East Thomas Street and people looking out the windows

Lillian Patterson's Brother on a Pony in East Thomas Street ©

He replied:

'The queen came into Leith on her yacht when I was about that age and there was celebrations. We went onto Easter road to see her cavalcade but I only saw the car tops.

A woman was arrested for throwing a tomato at her and the woman was sentenced under "Her Majesty's Pleasure".

The occasion was probably some Anniversary for the Queen.'

Perhaps somebody else will remember what the occasion was, and will recognise the woman in the photo."

Lillian Patterson, Australia:  January 28, 2012

 

Recollections

59.

Yvonne Cain

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Yvonne Cain, for writing again, about five years after she sent her first contribution to the East Thomas Street pages.

Yvonne  wrote:

The Tiffin

"I did some part time work in the Tiffin at night.  Dom was a good boss."

The Tiffin

The Tiffin has already been mentioned by others:

in Recollections 10 on this page:

"Best ice cream:  The Tiffin, run by Dom Crolla."

in  Recollections 43 on the East Thomas Street Neighbours page:

"I remember Crolla's ice cream shop, before it became The Tiffin. It had black and white decor, two separate rooms and great ice cream."

 

Candusso

"I did my hair dressing apprenticeship at Candusso at the top of Easter Road, opposite Montgomery.

The owner of Candusso had an uncle, I think it was, who had a Café near the fire station in  London Road."

Pet Shop

"Is the pet shop still at the other end of London Road, at the corner of Regent Terrace? **  I can remember going up the steps and looking down at the doges in the window."

Pet Shop

**  Yes, the pet shop is still there.

 -  Peter stubbs:  February 9, 2012

 

Post Office

"We  used to serve in Montgomery Street Post Office."

Shoe Repair Shop

 "I remember old Mrs Hutton from the shoe repair shop.  I think it was on the corner of Edina Street."

Yvonne Cain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia:  February 2, 2012

Recollections

60

James Wilkins

Northampton, Northamptonshire, England

Thank you to James Wilkins who wrote:

The Wilkins Family

"I moved with my family:

Mother, Jean

Father, Harry

Brother, Stan

into No.8, East Thomas Street (ground floor, rear right) in 1961."

Housing Contrasts

"The interesting thing about East Thomas Street was the contrast in the housing. It seemed a standard tenemented street, but the 'stairs' on the other side of our street had wooden communal staircases with shared outside loos on the landing (two between four houses).   By comparison, we felt quite posh.

Shops

"Gorman's shop was on the same side as us, towards Brunswick Street and Jimmy's, the newsagents was on the corner.  My mate, Kenny McKay, lived with his mother above the shop on the opposite side of the street also near Brunswick Road.

Also on the opposite side was a 'bookies', at the Elgin Street end and a 'sweetie shop' opposite.

Bonfires

"I remember our bonfires.  We used to stand guard over them at night."

Move to Easter Road

"We only stayed in East Thomas Street for a couple of years.  Then we moved to 108 Easter Road"

James Wilkins, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England:  April 28, 2015

Recollections

61

Roy Henderson

Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

Thank you to Roy Henderson who wrote:

Edina Place

"I've just read about Eric Gold living in Edina Place.  I lived their till I was about five when we moved to Currie, so I don't have a  a lot of memories of it, but I'mmore than happy to share what I do remember."

Memories

"My dad was a Gardner by trade, then he worked for Tenants Lager and Macgregor Glass and China.

I attended Leith Primary for a short time.  I remember:

the lady with her barrow selling hot mussels and buckies at the corner of Easter Road and Edina Street.

the factory that made glass marbles opposite where we lived in Edina Place.

-  the playground in Elgin Street, on the way to school."

My Grandparents

"I used to walk around to Granny Henderson's in Albion Road opposite Hibs FC.  Grandad Henderson worked at Jenners.

My Grandad Wilson was a Heat Engineer and looked after the boilers at Holyrood Palace.

Playing in Edina Place

"My best mate was John McGill who also lived in Edina Place. We played Robin Hood, Cowboys & Indians, went exploring and made up stuff.

We would fire our gutties with marbles over the factory roof and sometimes they wouldn't go over and hit the windows. We were neearly got caught a couple of times!

There was a bonnie wee lass called RuthI cannot remember her surname.  I had a plastic, car steering wheel, with indicator, a horn and everything.  It had a big sucker on the end that I stuck on the front door of the tenement building, then Ruth and I sat on the pavement and I would drive her all over the place."

Leaving Edina Place

"When I was about ten, we moved to Loanhead and then when I was fourteen we moved to Ipswich, Queensland, Australia and I've never been back, excpt via Google."

Roy Henderson, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia:  September 30, 2015

Recollections

62

Roy Henderson

Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

Thank you to Roy Henderson for writing again.

Roy wrote:

Wandering Off

"My mum told me, years ago, that when I lived at Edina Place, I wandered off when I was about three years old, which makes it 1956, and I was found about a mile down the road.

She said that I was at a 'Street Fair Celebration' at the time when I went exploring."

Street Fair Celebration

"Now, because of the EdinPhoto web site, I've noticed that in 1956, East Thomas Street had a celebration when the Queen came to open the Tattoo.  So now I'm thinking that might have been the occasion when I went for a stroll."

Roy Henderson, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia:  September 30, 2015

 

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